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London Summit and the Durand Line

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Diplomacy is a scene for deals and compromises. The people expect their politicians to make that compromises for interest of the people and in line with national interests. The same is expected in the case of Afghan president Hamid Karzai. He went to London for a trilateral meeting with the head of the United Kingdom, and Pakistan. The London summit meeting was aimed at reaching at a mutual roadmap on peace in the region and engaging the Taliban into a political process and peace negotiations.

After holding meeting with Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari, and UK premier David Cameron, Hamid Karzai has left for Norway where he signed a strategic cooperation agreement. Nevertheless a news has been released in a Pashto online newspaper, where it has been claimed that Hamid Karzai has signed an agreement with Asif Ali Zardari wherein Afghanistan has accepted the ‘Durand Line’ as an international border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. But let us see at the name of the agreement which was signed between Hamid Karzai and Zardari. The name of the agreement is ‘border security management’, which is aimed at boosting cooperation between the two countries regarding the border issues and security on both sides of the shared border.

The Durand Line has always been a ‘bone of contention’ between the two neighbor countries and has overshadowed Kabul-Islamabad’s relations for decades. It has played a central role in emergence of the Taliban in 1990s and continuation of war and violence in Afghanistan for many decades. Now, as Afghan and Pakistani Presidents Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari are ironing bilateral relations and the mutual cooperation between the two countries – mainly centered on the much-awaited resumption of peace talks with Taliban – they need to focus on the necessity and requirement of peace with the insurgent groups. The two leaders should distance themselves from the ‘bone of contention’ (the Durand Border Line) and focus on practical and visual issues such as bilateral relations and the peace process ahead.

This is why, because it is not the right time to address the issue and talk on the future of border line, as it is highly sensitive for Islamabad and Kabul as well as residents of both sides of the border line.

Any sort of talks on Durand Line would infuriate Afghans and the residents on both sides of the line —in Afghanistan and on the other side of the Durand Line. Both Afghan and Pakistani presidents should know that taking any decision on the future of the border is a collective right of all residents on both side of the border line. And of course, the peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan should be the top priority for both countries. When the goal obtained, Afghanistan and Pakistan should go to their diplomacy to solve this source of conflict for both countries.

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